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MSE/EE joint degree or Engineering Physics?

  1. Dec 21, 2011 #1
    Right now I am a junior working towards an Engineering Physics degree and an EE minor. In addition to the physics, I've been/plan on taking a few EE and MSE classes that I have thought would be useful and interesting in the kind of work I could see myself doing. I looked over the MSE/EE joint major at my school recently and realized I'm doing much the same. My current plan is to go to grad school, in which case this doesn't matter but I would like to be able to get a job out of school in case something were to come up. Would switching to the MSE/EE program make me a more viable job candidate? My classes will be essentially the same, so all that would change would be what it says for my major on my resume. The downside to this is that I would not be able to take a few of the physics classes I really wanted to take. Will employers look at my classes when they hire me or just my major?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 21, 2011 #2
    Engineering Physics programs vary dramatically depending on the school. At my undergrad it was applied physics with coursework in electrical and mechanical engineering. At my graduate school it's mostly plasma physics. If you could tell me what your program's like I could maybe give you some insight. But in my experience, the advantage and the pitfall of EP is that no one knows what it is. The plus being that you can describe it in such a way to play up the MSE/EE part, and also you have other valuable skills. The downside being that you always have to describe it, even sell it your future employer in a sense.
  4. Dec 21, 2011 #3
    Engineering Physics at my college is pretty flexible. You have the standard physics courses of the physics majors, plus you are required to take the some engineering electives, computer courses, and a few more math classes. Most of mine so far have been EE ones. So many infact that I would have done the major minus a few lower division classes, so I decided to pick up the minor. I also plan on taking a few MSE ones because the two I have taken made me realize I really would like to do work in materials.
  5. Dec 22, 2011 #4


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    I have only worked at one place since I left school (been there 12 years), so take this with a grain of salt. My group mostly does R&D to come up with new approaches new or old problems. When we hire folks to do engineering work, we like to get a variety because we usually get the best solutions when we have competing frames of reference from teh staff working a program. In fact, any physics major that had taken signals and systems, plus a probability theory class would be perfectly qualified for a lot of what we do in my group. (likewise, a math major that has those two courses PLUS a serious course covering electromagnetic waves). Without those two classes it is too hard for folks to catch up quickly, in my experience. If I were you, I would follow my interests.

    best of luck,

  6. Dec 23, 2011 #5
    Thanks for your reply. I think I will take your advice. I'm only in college once, might as well have fun with it.
  7. Dec 23, 2011 #6
    id go for the 2 degrees, personally. also, one of those two should be ABET certified. at least in my experience, and from people ive talked to, grad schools like to see people skilled in two different areas or two joint areas. i think you would achieve this with the dual degree, as opposed to the overlap with ephys.
  8. Dec 24, 2011 #7
    Do the actual degrees matter though? I would still essentially be taking the same classes, my current plan and the joint degree only differ by about three electives. And I still have the EE minor. I thought grad schools cared more about the classes you took than the actual degree?
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